History Gems

Atelier Torbjörn Tillander: with Jenny Tillander

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Episode notes

This week Dr Nicola Tallis explores one of the world's most revered jewellers - Atelier Torbjörn Tillander - with the youngest of the Tillander family - Jenny. 

The firm of A. Tillander was established by Alexander Tillander in Russia in 1860. After completing a seven year apprenticeship with a master goldsmith he went to work for Carl Becks who was a supplier to the Russian Imperial court.  Before long however, Alexander decided to go into business on his own and at just 23 he opened his first premises in the heart of St Petersburg.

Whilst the firm remained relatively unscathed by the Russian Revolution of 1905, the same was not true of the one that occurred in 1917. Along with many other Russian jewellery manufacturers, the firm was forced to closed and the Tillander family moved their lives and business to Helsinki.  Here, in 1918 Alexander Jr. re-established A. Tillander and the firm is still in existence today and remains family owned.

Jenny has been fully involved in the family business since 2014. In 2017, she graduated as a gemmologist from the Gemological Institute of America in London. Jenny is a natural-born customer service representative who, as the youngest in the family business, also naturally ensures that Atelier Torbjörn Tillander's product range follows trends. In spring 2020, Jenny launched her first jewellery collection – Transparency by Jenny Tillander. Check out the collection here.

Join the conversation on social media and check out images of some of the jewels discussed by visiting @historygemspod on both Twitter and Instagram.